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MIT, Rules-Based Medicine, Experimentelle and Diagnostische Immunologie, ISB, Cyntellect, BioFocus, Cellectis, Servier

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MIT Wins $100M Gift to Create Cancer Research Institute That Melds Genomics, Cell Bio, Engineering
 
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology this week said that an alumnus has awarded it a $100 million gift to create a new research center that will pool the school’s molecular genetics, cell biology, and engineering disciplines to study cancer.
 
The gift from Koch Industries executive David Koch will help build the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, which will house genomics, cellular imaging, nanotech, and other technologies and employ around 25 scientists and engineers “to develop new ways to detect, diagnose, treat, and manage” cancer, MIT said this week in a statement.
 
The school said that the center’s five target areas will be using genomics research along with imaging and micro-scale monitoring technologies to push cancer diagnosis and prevention to earlier stages of the disease.
 
It also said it will attempt to discover “specific vulnerabilities” of cancer cells through diagramming “key pathways,” engineering new nanotechnology, studying how tumors evade recognition by the immune system, and studying the “molecular and cellular basis for metastasis.”
 
MIT said the center is scheduled to open in 2010. Tyler Jacks, the David H. Koch Professor of Biology at MIT, will serve as the Director of the Koch Institute.
 

 
RBM Acquires EDI, Deal Will Leverage Product Synergy
 
Rules-Based Medicine this week announced that it has acquired Experimentelle and Diagnostische Immunologie of Reutlingen, Germany, a developer of human organotypic, or HOT, cell culture test systems.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 
EDI is being operated as an RBM subsidiary with EDI founder and general manager Manfred Schmolz continuing in his role. All EDI employees have been retained and will continue to work from the Reutlingen facility.
 
This transaction leverages the synergy between EDI's HOT cultures and RBM's multi-analyte profiling biomarker testing services. EDI's cell culture products consist of multiple primary cell types grown in a 3D architecture that closely mimics particular human organ systems.
 
One of EDI's patented products, the Instant Leukocyte Culture System, will be coupled with the RBM MAP testing service to provide an understanding of a compound's effects in the pre-clinical research phase. In addition, these products could provide safety information prior to initiation of clinical testing.
 
According to RBM, another application for the combined EDI and RBM products is in the consumer products and topical therapeutics industries. EDI's HOT Skin model closely reproduces, in an ex vivo format, the reaction of a compound applied to human skin. EDI's HOT Skin model coupled with an RBM MAP provides an assessment of a topical compound's safety and efficacy profile.
 
EDI offers additional co-cultures such as gastro-intestinal, synovial, pulmonary, and vascular, which will also be enhanced in combination with the RBM MAP services.
 

 
ISB Installs Cyntellect’s LEAP System
 
Cyntellect this week announced that the Institute for Systems Biology has completed the purchase and installation of Cyntellect's Laser-Enabled Analysis and Processing, or LEAP, system in its Seattle, Wash., facility.
 
ISB plans to exploit LEAP's in situ live cell manipulation capabilities when developing new approaches for functionally cloning immune cells and determining their potential roles in mediating disease.
 

 
BioFocus Upgrades Software, Opens San Diego ADME-Tox Facility
 
BioFocus DPI, a Galapagos company, this week announced that in addition to opening an additional US office to better serve its customers, it has also significantly upgraded its proprietary ADMEnsa Interactive software.
 
Located in San Diego, Calif., the new US ADMEnsa team will be headed by Shamsi Raeissi, who previously held positions with Bayer Health Care, Pfizer, Sugen, and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer.
 
In addition to the expanded laboratory service, BioFocus DPI has upgraded its ADMEnsa Interactive software suite to include what the company says are enhanced data analysis and visualization tools. The package’s compound prioritization framework can integrate in silico predictions with data from other sources such as in vitro and in vivo experiments.
 

 
Cellectis, Servier Ink Deal For CHO Cell Line R&D
 
Cellectis this week announced that it has signed an agreement with Laboratoires Servier regarding the engineering of industrial cell lines for use in pharmaceutical research and development.
 
The agreement's financial terms have not been disclosed.
 
The agreement covers Laboratoires Servier's use of Cellectis' 10-cell platform and meganuclease recombination system for enabling the targeted and reproducible insertion of genes of interest in this cell line.
 
The cell platform will allow Laboratoires Servier to reproducibly and rationally derive consistent ranges of distinct yet closely comparable cell lines for direct use in its industrial processes.
 
The agreement provides Servier with access to the 10-cell platform for in-house use and as a means of deriving new industrial tools.
 
The Servier agreement is part of Cellectis' efforts to deploy its proprietary meganuclease technology in this field, the company said.

The Scan

Call to Look Again

More than a dozen researchers penned a letter in Science saying a previous investigation into the origin of SARS-CoV-2 did not give theories equal consideration.

Not Always Trusted

In a new poll, slightly more than half of US adults have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hill reports.

Identified Decades Later

A genetic genealogy approach has identified "Christy Crystal Creek," the New York Times reports.

Science Papers Report on Splicing Enhancer, Point of Care Test for Sexual Transmitted Disease

In Science this week: a novel RNA structural element that acts as a splicing enhancer, and more.